The much-loved novels of C.S. Forester come to life in Captain Horatio Hornblower, a solid, engrossing seafaring tale. Forester himself worked on the script for the 1951 film, which mines its plot from three Hornblower books. Set during the Napoleonic era, the movie kicks off by steering British captain Hornblower (Gregory Peck) into the middle of a nimble cat-and-mouse game with anti-Spanish rebels in the New World--only to find that in the months since he set sail from Old Blighty, national alliances have changed, causing a reversal in his original mission. The action later shifts to Europe, and throughout there is a love story involving a noblewoman (Virginia Mayo) who takes unexpected lodging aboard Hornblower's ship. The film has an intelligence that keeps it watchable, although it's definitely not one of the more buoyant films of the robust director Raoul Walsh. Perhaps the movie falls short of classic status because of the casting: its sober nature might stem from the personality of Gregory Peck, who looks marvelous but remains stolid throughout, while Virginia Mayo is, well, Virginia Mayo, a league away from British aristocracy. The sea battles don't have the technical dazzle of Master and Commander but they look acceptable for their time, and the movie's fondness for detail is gratifying. Forester's tales later became a series of British TV programs, with Ioan Gruffud as Hornblower. --Robert Horton
movie review Gregory Peck does a great job in projecting command authority as captain of a warship. Virginia Mayo is more than a pretty face. She is convincing as she falls in love with Peck and the movie's conclusion leaves you with a nice warm feeling. The battle scenes between the vintage ships were very well done. A good way to spend an evening....more info
T e r r i f f i c !!! Sure I won't repeat a lot that was said by the other reviewers.
In Short: One of the few Films that I have seen (the first time in german television when I was 12) that I Give FULLY PRAISE to!! The Film is sheer beauty in every way, Story, Actors/ Acting - If you've never seen or heard of Gregory Peck before, after having seen him in this role... you're a FAN! The Music, Cinematography... everything is splendid!
So, don't hesitate to buy this Film and enjoy! One of the few Films that you will see again and again as you're growing older - I promise you that! ...more info
Excellent Seafaring Adventure I've been a fan of the Hornblower books since I was in college, lo these many years ago. The recent made-for-cable series isn't bad, but this feature film, produced in the 50's, captures the spirit of the novels.
The story stays pretty faithful to the source material. It helps that CS Forester himself worked on the screenplay, compressing "Beat to Quarters", "Ship of the Line" and "Flying Colours" into a 2-hour movie. The story is action-packed and episodic, dealing first with Hornblower's command, the frigate Lydia, being sent to the Pacific coast of South America to create an uprising against Spain, with ironic consequences. Captain Hornblower is promoted to a larger ship, which he then leads into a heroic attack against French ships, leading to his capture. The final third of the movie is about Hornblower's escape from the French and his return to England (and a happy ending, of course, this being Hollywood in the Fifties).
If that weren't enough, a subtext of romance with a wealthy noblewoman reminds us that Horatio is human after all.
The movie isn't perfect; Gregory Peck is stoic but a little too good-looking (and American) for the part, and the female lead, Virginia Mayo, lacks the kind of oomph I pictured for Lady Barbara.
Overall, a lot to like. This movie is in pretty high rotation in my collection....more info
Napoleon -v- Gregory Peck? The Frenchman Never Had A Chance! In this superior movie from the Raoul Walsh/Warner Bros stable, the late and great Gregory Peck gives a masterful performance as C.S. Forester's swashbuckling hero Horatio Hornblower as he takes on a Spanish man-of-war - the "Natividad", a South American dictator with delusions of grandeur and the might of Napoleonic France, and still has time to win the heart of the Duke of Wellington's sister played by screen beauty Virginia Mayo. Some guys have all the luck!
It might be a `done-to-death' cliche, but they really don't make movies like this anymore! Under an equally masterful Director, the pace-setting script, a strong supporting cast, a stirring musical score and some wonderful cinematography really make this a Greg Peck classic. British actors Terrence Morgan (Brit TV's -The Buccaneers), James Robertson Justice (Murder She Said) and Stanley Baker (Zulu) both of whom would later appear with Peck in The Guns of Navarone, manage to give the film an authentic British feel.
But Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951) is truly `Hollywood'. 1950s British Cinema had some wonderful moments with a steady stream of classic `black and white' war films and mould-breaking films with a social message, but up against this colourful costume drama, they could hardly expect to get close. I am sure C.S. Forester would have approved of the Hollywood treatment and not one piece of digital, computer wizardry in sight! How refreshing!...more info
Ultimate Swashbuckler and Tall Ships Fable This is a movie you can screen many times, yet derive full enjoyment on each occasion. It is epic filmmaking on the grand scale, with the opulence, technicolor, sets, costumes, music, and budget that MGM would lavish on many quality costume epics of the period. The direction by Raoul Walsh is taut. The cinematography is gorgeous. Cecil Forester helped with the adaptation, and, as a result, the script is true to his character and the stories. On a personal note, I was given the Hornblower books to read by my father in the late 1950's after I had checked a book out of the library "Barbary Pirates" by the same author (Random House Landmark series). My father had seen the movie when it was released (I was 2 years old), and became interested in the character. Gregory Peck is perfect as the tightly controlled, yet compassionate naval commander. In fact, it would be impossible to imagine any other actor so perfectly realizing this hero of the Napoleonic Wars. The screenplay covers the middle of Hornblower's career by weaving a story based on "Beat to Quarters", "Ship of the Line", and "Flying Colors". These were the first three novels to be completed in the series by C. S. Forester. He seemed to have enjoyed writing these earlier novels more than some of the later ones that completed the chronology. The action scenes are incredible, reeking with authenticity. The cast is excellent, especially all of the character actors comprising Hornblower's crew. My personal favorite is James Justice (Seaman Quist). You can almost smell the salt brine in the air. Other films of Forester's novels include "Pride and the Passion" (based on a short novella, "The Gun"), and the brilliant "African Queen". Fans of this movie should also screen the 1952 MGM release "Scaramouche", a superb adaptation of the Rafael Sabatini novel. The attention to detail and quality of production in both films is comparable. "Scaramouche" features one of the most impressive swordfights in movie history. A wonderful experience!...more info
Can't Wait For This Epic I last saw this MGM classic when I was a child, with our late-father who was stationed overseas, and on a certain U.S. Armed Forces Television broadcast ... And yes, and I'm pretty old now. Yet, I really can't wait to see it enhanced on DVD, as I've been checking the web for the last couple of years in anticipation of it's release.
The majesty of this genre in filmmaking does live on in the way of "Master and Commander: Far Side of the Earth" today, however, the color and the imagery of this movie is one that I can never forget and of which is emblazoned upon my memory to this very day. I remember, even as a child, being immersed with the spirit, the heroism, tragedy, honor, conflict and of course love which this movie is imbued with. And this is definitely one for our own personal family digital library of entertainment - Right up there with the likes of the Ten Commandments, Wizard of Oz, The Godfather, and so many to numerous to mention.
Nevertheless, this 1951 epic starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo is a must have for those seafarers who still long for the open sea, and those of heart....more info
A Good Sea Tale A good adaptation of a Forester novel. Not surprising considering he wrote the screenplay. Peck & Mayo's non-British perfomance is a little jarring, but if you can get past it (not hard for a yank like me), the movie works very well....more info
Peck is Perfect... Peck is the perfect Hornblower, when you read the books this is who you will see after watching this wonderful film,(I have seen it on TCM). C.S. Forester, the author of the books wrote the screenplay and it shows, very true to the character and he did a wonderful job in working in the best from the first three books, which I feel are the best ones he wrote. (If you have a teenage son, do him a favor and buy him the complete set, they are much better than anything on TV and are great reads for adults also.) The current TV movies on HH should do the same and put some teeth into the writing and stick closer to the books. This film should really be put on dvd and they should add a lot of extras concerning the author, how popular the books were around the world and also include a doc. about the time period of "iron men and wooden ships"......more info
Movie Fan I would like to see this movie on dvd. This is the the orginal Captin Horatio Hornblower...more info
First rate Hornblower movie I was barely aware of this movie until I had finished reading all the Hornblower publications. Hesitant about a movie dated in 1952 after seeing all the Hornblower A&E mini-series, I took the plunge to satiate a Hornblower addiction. What a surprise! A first class epic that competes with the modern productions and does the printed word justice....more info
capt h. hornblower based on c.f. forester's series of a british naval officers career during the napoleonic era....more info
The Good Account The film is adaptation of the C.S. Foresters first novel in the Hornblower series "The Happy Return", in the USA this was titled "Beat To Quarters" with a little added plot from a "Ship of The Line" (not three novels as other reviewers have stated). The Happy Return was originally written as a stand alone book and C.S. forester conceived the idea whilst on a voyage home after a stint writing a film scripts in Hollywood. Although a very British subject Gregory Peck portrays the part of the stiff Hornblower very well. Forester himself wrote he was very happy with the results and in many ways this version is closer to the original idea than the later TV versions. Gregory Peck plays the man alone in charge of vessels a long way from home. Forester conceived the story not so much a story of ships, heroes and battles but of class barriers and the loneliness of command. The story is about throwing together of Hornblower a Captain of middle class background and Lady Barbara, sister of Duke of Wellington, well played by Virginia Mayo, I regret however that her accent does not bear up to scrutiny very well. He is already married so is not free and in any event he is too low a social class to jump the great social divide. In he close fines of a small vessel a long way form home passions and temptations are strong. The story does depart from the original novel in one important aspect by making Lady Barbara ill on the voyage home so Captain Hornblower can care for sick lady in the already confined circumstance. Apart from that I have very little to argue with. Forester went on to write ten Hornblower novels with this film sitting in the middle of the completed sequence. If you fond of the character then this is very good starting point and to my mind gets to the heart of what the writer originally conceived. I only hope that a good DVD version is put out soon.
As a footnote many goof spotters mention the story refers to the 1807 and that the Duke of Wellington did not gain that title until 1808. If however they had checked further the story is set in 1808 and is only mentions 1807 as the date the mission started. All I can say is that these goof spotters should check their own facts before publishing their great finds.
Fire as your guns bear! Loved this movie when it came out and still regard it as the bench mark for all movies involving sail, sea battles and the like. Well-cast by people and ships and amazing technical effects, given the period it was filmed. And Gregory Peck never made a bad movies. Good "capture" of CS Forester's best hero! Highly recommended to Forester fans, war-at-sea fans and Gregory Peck fans....more info
Captain Horatio Hornblower The quality of this film was awesome considering it's an old movie digitized. My husband loves this classic. VERY classic though, old fashioned for sure if it's your style you'll love it....more info
Peck's 'Hornblower' (with bonus features ) on DVD - FINALLY!!! This release is long overdue. The previous reviewers have focused on the story (great) and the leading man (greater) therefore I shall comment on the overall package. It is presented in the original full screen format and the transfer is excellent. Technicolour films have a history of not always aging well making their transfer to DVD a most laborious and often frustrating task. Luckily for us, the loyal fans of Captain Hornblower, this film still looks great.
In addition to the film itself, this DVD has a four bonus features which greatly enhance the overall appeal. An animated short, 'Captain Hareblower', features Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam trading barbs and broadsides. 'My Country 'Tis of Thee' is an Oscar-nominated two-reeler (19+ minutes) from 1950 which details the growth of our republic. The short is preceded by an hilarious disclaimer decrying/lamenting the politically incorrect nature of some of the footage (I tried to "ZAP" it using visual search to no avail). The theatrical trailer and a special audio-only adaptation for Lux Radio Theatre from 1951, featuring the voices of Gregory Peck, Virginia Mayo and other stars from the film, round out the "extras" on this excellent release. The radio show is 59+ minutes in length and includes commercials.
This is a good swashbuckling adventure which I, as a former Sailor, recommend highly. "Avast yer infernal trepidation, you lubbers - all hands make ready to purchase 'Captain Horatio Hornblower'."...more info
a STUNNING DVD...technicolor at its BEST! Other reviewers have told the story....and mentioned the cast and legendary director Raoul Walsh...I'm here to tell you that the DVD is simply one of the finest most vivid Technocolor transfers I have EVER seen! The bonus features as usual on Warners legacy titles are cool/fun but its the brilliance of the quality of the print that drove me to write this review. This is absolutely a 5 star DVD presentation. I personally like the film as well...Peck and Mayo are in their primes and true matinee idol and glamour girl...alas this is what Hollywood was all about! FUN FUN FUN!...more info
Excellent Swashbuckling Fun! My family really enjoyed this great old film. Well acted and vintage Hollywood. Gregory Peck is excellent in this role and has a fine supporting cast. This is one you will enjoy watching over and over! ...more info
Captain Horatio Hornblower finds love and adventure at sea C. S. Forester certainly began the saga of his Napoleonic-Era naval hero Horatio Hornblower "in media res." Here is Hornblower as a dashing captain, with the stories of his younger days and later glories both yet to be penned. "Captain Horatio Hornblower" actually covers the key events in Forester's first trio of Hornblower adventures, "Beat to Quarters," "Ship of the Line" and Flying Colours." Hornblower (American Gregory Peck playing the quintessential English hero) is sent on a secret mission to the far side of South America where he has to capture a Spanish frigate not once but twice, all because of the problematic delay in having new orders catch up with him in the time of wooden sailing ships. Chance throws Hornblower together with Lady Barbara Wellesley (Virginia Mayo), the sister of the Duke of Wellington. She is engaged to some admiral and he is already married, but there is no doubt that they are meant for each other. Besides, even Fate has to take a backseat to Hornblower's sense of duty. Even when he is captured by the French it is but another opportunity for grand adventure. Like many fans I came to the Hornblower novels and this rousing 1951 film directed by Raoul Walsh. The happy ending falls into place a bit too neatly, but that is what happened in the original novels and not simply a Hollywood decision. The sea battles with the fully rigged ships are as fine as you can find from the good old days of movie-making, but my favorite scene is the touching one when the Captain and Lady Barbara deal with the final moment's of the youngest member of the ship's company. "Captain Horatio Hornblower," like the novels, achieves that feeling that we are truly in the middle of an epic tale, with well-established characters who we readily believe have already had long and glorious histories. I think Lt. Bush (Robert Beatty) gets a lot of the credit for that as the unofficial "narrator" of the tale. So, if you have loved the imported A&E adventures of the young Horatio Hornblower, you certainly need to get around to watching the original film version and reading Forester's novels. If not, you will just be a scurvy dog, matie....more info
Captain Horatio Hornblower A must see for Gregory Peck fans, or Hornblower fans for that matter. The credits cite original author C.S. Forester for the screenplay. He amalgamates the book version so very well within the time constraints of a film. Left out is the extended underground stay in France after the escape, where Hornblower finds a brief love affair and Bush loses a leg. In spite of these omissions, the movie is well-balanced in every way....more info
Full screen is actually 1/2 screen,just centered. I can't believe anyone would release this beautiful movie in 1/2 screen (full screen). I got to see 1/2 of the movie. I have been waiting a long time for this movie to go DVD. What a disapointment. Still worth it if this is the best we will get. But this is a 5 star movie in widescreen....more info
Technical difficulties shadow great DVD WE have been fans of this movie since it was released on VHS years ago, and were thrilled to find it finally available on DVD. Upon receiving it, however, we found that our primary DVD player had encoding problems with the sound; it would play the soundtrack everywhere EXCEPT on the feature film! Oddly, our older backup DVD player had no trouble reading the whole disc. I am given to understand this may be an issue with the first run of DVDs, as none of the replacements we received fixed the problem, but newer pressings may work better.
Be that as it may, this movie is wonderful. Lots of non-bloody action, a la Errol Flynn and every swashbuckling flick from that era, tongue in cheek jokes, and lighthearted romance. I would have few problems allowing a 7 year old to watch this movie....more info
a great film! This is a great adventurous and romantic film. The lovely Virginia Mayo is in it, and also Gregory Peck. They make a nice couple. It has action, romance, adventure. The costumes and settings ar every lovely and it's well worth seieng for anyone....more info
Hornblower This is a great movie similar to Master and Commander starring Russell Crowe. I am very pleased I purchased this product....more info
Horatio Hornblower -- one of the best of a genre This is just one of my all-time favorite films -- adventure, romance, a little drama and, of course, a happy ending. What more could one ask for on a Saturday afternoon? Seriously, once you watch Gregory Peck in this, explore some of his weightier and more substantive roles -- I especially recommend Twelve O'clock High and Gentleman's Agreement....more info
Hail to the Original Horatio I first saw the movie Capt Horatio Hornblower in the theater. My father, who read the serialized version of the Hornblower in the Saturday Evening Post took us to the movie.
I began reading the book not long after seeing the movie and the mental picture of Peck as Hornblower was dominate im my mind.
I have read the series many time since those days. The depiction of Hornblower I believe to be the definitive portrayal.
The movie itself may seem a bit stiff and formal to today's movie goers, but it was within the traditions of the high budget historical movie of the time. While - after reading the books - I wished that the movie had more action, but as i grew older I understood.
As for the screenplay - who better to write it that C.S. Forester himself.
One detail I noticed in the DVD I overlooked in the theater, the patches and threadbare nature of Hornblower's clothes he wore "everyday" The change to full dress was noticeable - a type detail not normally seen in movies of the era
If you like the Ioan Gruffudd version of Hornblower, I think owe it to yourself to look at the original. (and maybe read the books) It is my belief that Gruffudd was highly influenced by Peck....more info
Come Blow Your Horn I confess I love this film far more than it deserves. The idea of casting Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo as a red-hot English couple is too much, and I'll bet this film got a cold reception in the UK. Get around that idiosyncrasy, though, and it's a great time. Director Raoul Walsh was one of Hollywood's most dependable directors for more than thirty years and "Hornblower" is one of his great moments. No American moviemaker ever topped him at keeping his story in motion and pacing it for the audience's enjoyment. After shooting up a Latin American maniac and then an assortment of French fighting ships during the Napoleanic wars, Hornblower staggers back to England to claim the aristocratic Mayo, both of their spouses having thoughtfully died. All the acting is a little over the top, but then so was the period....more info
Excellent Napoleonic War naval epic Director Raoul Walsh does an impressive job in mixing together proper dosages of adventure and romance in his enjoyable rendering of C.S. Forester's "Captain Horatio Hornblower".
Gregory Peck is perfectly cast as the principled, proper and disciplined Captain Hornblower. in command of the H.M.S. Lydia in 1807. Ably assisted by Robert Beatty playing Lt. Bush and James R. Justice playing Seaman Quist the ship is on a secret mission for the British Admiralty. At war with both France and Spain they sail from England around the cape into the Pacific. They are assigned to arm a Central American ally of the king, the despicable, maniacal despot El Supremo played by Alec Mango and then blockade Panama. El Supremo intends to raid Central American ports held by Spain.
Peck and his crew capture a Spanish warship and turn it over to the crazed El Supremo. The H.M.S. Lydia later encounters a small Spanish vessel bearing news that Spain and France have split and the Spanish are now allied with England. Peck must now pursue and destroy the Spanish ship commanded by El Supremo. Also aboard is Virginia Mayo playing Lady Barbara Wellesley, sister of the Duke of Wellington, who is fleeing a yellow fever epidemic in Panama. She is seeking transport back to England aboard the Lydia. In the long voyage home they expectedly fall in love. Hornblower however is married and Lady Barbara is betrothed to an admiral and their affections remain unrequited.
Hornblower returns home to find his wife has bore him a son but unfortunately died in childbirth. He rues his misfortune as Lady Barbara has already married. Hornblower receives a new commission and he and his crew are off on more adventures. Suffice to say that the movie ends happily for the main characters.
The flick thanks to Walsh and an excellent cast is a satisfying romp through a chaotic but interesting period of European history...more info
Captain Horatio Hornblower For sure one of the best adventure movies of all times, if you enjoy the clasic adventure movies you need to see this one. And of course, whit grate actors like Gregory peck, Robert Beatty and Virginia Mayo....more info
my book report from the 7th grade I had no idea they had made the book into a movie. I had the VHS tape but purchased the DVD for better quality. There is so much that the characters are thinking that cannot be conveyed on the screen. Since I had read the book, I could see the actors trying to convey what was in the book. The movie follows the book quite closely, a few changes, but nothing affecting the story line.
The story is great, a captain who cares about his men as well as his duty. The current BBC series of Horatio Hornblower follows the character from his start in the Royal Navy so we see how these qualities were learned and ingrained in him....more info
A fine old-fashioned swashbuckler. If you are in the mood for a very entertaining, old-fashioned Hollywood sea adventure, this would be a good choice. Gregory Peck may not be a truly great actor, but it is hard to imagine anyone who would have been better as the brave but shy Captain Hornblower. Raoul Walsh (who played John Wilkes Booth in THE BIRTH OF A NATION) directed, and keeps things moving along briskly. Watch closely for Christopher Lee (before he became a horror film icon) as a Spanish pirate who has a brief swordfight with Peck....more info
A BRILLIANT PRECURS0R TO STAR TREK! This is an excelent movie! Gregory peck is inspirational and courageous in this Seafaring Saga. Star Trek Fans will here the familiar adventure fanfare and if you look closely, you will see the familiar dialoque of a Captain and Doctor.
In 1807, Royal Navy Captain Horatio Hornblower (Gregory Peck), commanding the 36-gun frigate HMS Lydia, is on a lengthy secret mission to Central America. He is to provide arms and support to a megalomaniac calling himself "El Supremo" or "The Almighty" (Alec Mango) in his rebellion against Spain, an ally of Britain's enemy France during the Napoleonic Wars. As Hornblower observes to First Lieutenant Bush (Robert Beatty): "War breeds strange allies".
Upon his arrival, the Englishman is told that a larger, much more powerful Spanish warship, the 50-gun Natividad, has been sighted. When it anchors nearby, Hornblower and his crew board and capture it in a surprise nighttime attack. He then reluctantly hands the ship over to El Supremo to appease the madman and they go their separate ways.
Later, he encounters a small Spanish vessel with a pair of troublesome passengers. First, a Spanish official informs him (and provides proof) that Spain has switched sides. Then Lady Barbara Wellesley (Virginia Mayo) "requests" passage back to England for her and her maid. Due to a deadly epidemic raging ashore and her influential relations (she is the fictitious sister of Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington), Hornblower is in no position to refuse, even though he has to find and sink the Natividad. Using masterful tactics, he accomplishes his mission.
On the voyage back to England, Lady Barbara falls ill (of what Hornblower mistakenly believes is yellow fever) and is nursed back to health by him. They spend many enjoyable nights talking and playing whist. They fall in love, but he rejects her advances as he is married, to her embarrassment.
After arriving home, he learns that his wife Maria has died. Hornblower is given command of the Sutherland, a powerful ship of the line captured from the French, and is assigned to a squadron commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Rodney Leighton (Denis O'Dea), Lady Barbara's pompous new husband. The squadron's mission is to enforce the British blockade against Napoleonic France.
At a conference on Leighton's flagship, Hornblower urges a wide deployment to counter any sortie of the French Navy in support of Napoleon's [[Peninsular War|campaign on the Iberian peninsula. However, a suspicious Leighton expressly forbids Hornblower from taking any independent action without his permission.
Hornblower's French-built ship is subsequently mistaken for a friendly vessel by a French ship, making for its easy capture. While interrogating a disguised French diplomat, Hornblower learns the enemy's recognition signal for the day, as well as vital intelligence that four French ships of the line have slipped the British blockade and are heading to Spain, carrying troops and supplies to the French armies there.
Faced with the urgency of the situation, Hornblower decides on his own initiative to attempt to find and sink the ships. He locates them anchored in a harbor guarded by a well-armed fort. By flying a French flag and the recognition signal, as well as taking advantage of the appearance of his ship's French-built design, Hornblower fools the French garrison into believing that Sutherland is a friendly ship, enters the harbor unhindered, and manages to sink or damage all four anchored ships. The French fort then opens fire, and Hornblower and the rest of the surviving crew abandon ship, after deliberately sinking the Sutherland in the harbor channel to trap the French ships.
The rest of the British squadron arrives shortly afterward to complete the job; Leighton is killed in the ensuing battle. Hornblower and Bush, accompanied by seaman Quist (James Robertson Justice), are taken by carriage to Paris to be tried on the trumped-up charge of espionage. They manage to escape en route and make their way to a port. Disguised as Dutch officers, they board The Witch of Endor, a captured British ship, overpower the skeleton crew, free a working party of British prisoners of war to man her, and sail away to freedom.
At his mandatory court-martial, Hornblower is acquitted and becomes a national hero. With Maria and Lady Barbara's husband both deceased, the two lovebirds are reunited.
Long Wait I've been waiting years for this to come out on dvd. Read all the books as a kid. Saw the movie years ago. Thanks and keep them comming....more info
Timeless Classic I have loved this movie since I was a kid. It is lightyears better than the Hornblower series that was on A&E. I have read Forester's Hornblower series at least 10 times and never get tired of returning to them.
Gregory Peck is not quite the Hornblower that I have come to know over the years, but he does a great job. Thank goodness this movie is out in DVD. My VHS version is on its last legs....more info
Good Portrayal of C. S. Foresters H. Hornblower This motion picture captures the essence of three of Foresters books: "Beat to Quarters", "Ship of the Line", and "Flying Colours", though there are some inaccuracies and portions left out. This movie is about a time in the world when honor and integrity were paramount. If you like the A&E series on Hornblower, you will probably like this movie. Conversely, if you like this movie, you will probably like the A&E series as well....more info
Arrrrrr Matey A perfect example of a well done Sea going romance aboard a British Man 'O War....more info
Amazing how Walsh, after having filmed such great classics, could have fallen so low. This is a film for young TV audiences. If you have absolutely nothing to do on any given afternoon you may find it tolerable too. Predictible dialogues, exaggerated stereotypes... Plays better with the sound off....more info
a great, and classic film The Horatio Hornblower series of books is great reading for those interested in the times of "iron men and wooden ships". It was recently made into a TV series and was well done. However, this movie was the progenitor of all this.
The translation from book to movie screen is often difficult for screen writers. No matter what they do, its wrong, according to the book's admirers. In this case, the whole book is not there, but the resulting screen play and film is fantastic. Regardless of the historical truth of this story, the details of how a ship, its Captain, and crews actions are portrayed is very well done.
Widescreen?? This wonderful movie was produced in 1951, before the advent of "Widescreen".
Its' original aspect ratio was 1/37/1 or slightly wider than "full screen" (1/33/1). This DVD preserves the original aspect ratio of the film.
Source: IMDB...more info
Captain Horatio HJormblower review This movie I've liked since my childhood, found it an exciting fictional account of the era. Naval fictional dramas including Historical of that time tend to keep you on the edge of your seat, this I like.
Pity Captain Horatio Hornblower wasn't in wide screen instead of 4.3 ratio, I remember it being such or letterbox format.
Peter J Barr...more info
Horatio Hornblower This original, 1951, movie is great. Please release it on DVD soon....more info
Horatio Hornblower - Gregory Peck I love this story and loved the A&E mini series of the same name. I have those DVD's and have always wanted the Gregory Peck version. He was a great actor and I loved him in the role....more info
Horatio Hornblower on the wide screen Let's start by agreeing that movies are almost never better than the books they are based on.
That's true here but the movie is still wonderful especially for those of us who love the Horatio Hornblower novels and the characters the novels present to us.
Gregory Peck does an excellent job with a somewhat difficult fictional character. The movie is a concatenation of a number of books but it captures the essence of the novels especially in the character of Hornblower and his relationship to those he leads. His vulnerabilities are as evident as his courage.
This series although it treats upon the same era of the Royal Navy is and entirely different one from the treatment that Patrick O'Brian delivers in the Aubrey-Maturin novels (Master and Commander on film).
However, those of my generation were raised on the Hornblower novels and it is a real treat to see Hornblower again on the big screen.
I do disagree with one of the reviewers in that I think the BBC Hornblower series is fantastic and if anything even better than this single film. The BBC series is 8 films done with masterful perfection to period sets and superb acting.
Having said that I really enjoyed this film and any Hornblower buff will find it enjoyable as well....more info
Captain Horatio Hornblower As a long time fan of the Hornblower stories I am pleased with the job that the writers and producer did in condensing three Hornblower stories into a manageable time frame. My only quibble with the film is the choice of Gregory Peck for the lead. Peck is a wooden actor at best, and while Hornblower was always one to stifle his emotions I don't feel Peck got it right. There were plenty of fine British actors that could have filled the bill. I understand why they chose Peck, he was a proven box office draw, but because of his performance I will only recommend this film instead of highly recommending it. If you are a Hornblower fan be sure to catch the series of young Hornblower stories featuring Ioan Griffuld....more info
Excellent movie Captain Horatio Hornblower is an already older but still excellent movie.
Historicaly is this movie more correct than the Hornblower series.
It is also a movie that you can watch relaxed,without the sometimes -to fast-present-day camera vieuw changes that gives you a headache.
For their time the ships have been constructed very nice.
Captain Horatio Hornblower Excelent movie.I had the VHS and realy liked it,so I upgraded to the DVD...more info
Excellent nautical adventure One of the better sea-faring adventures to be found on DVD. Terrific color, some slam-bang sea battles, splendid cast and Virginia Mayo is stunning in some shots.
This film blends a couple of the classic Hornblower novels into a worthy film effort. And some of the best sounding cannon shots you will find on film.
Well worth buying and finally on DVD in all it's colorful glory. Go ahead, get some sea foam in your face. Enjoy....more info
Nothing Finer While Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo rivet your attention to one line of interest in this movie, their destiny, the rest of the crew, all outstanding actors, give performances that match the excellent special effects in this movie where gun wales and cannon are thrown around like match sticks and huge chunks of the mast and rigging fall like boulders. What a class act! Even El Supremo dies well in this great swashbuckling
tale of the high seas. I loved it....more info
An old film but conveys the Hornblower spirit... After starting on Patrick O'Brian, I have also discovered Horatio Hornblower first with the first A&E episode "The Duel" (Ion Gruffyd, Robert Lindsay), and now with the 1951 movie "Captain Hornblower" starring Gregory Peck. I have *not* read the Hornblower books yet, so my review is from the perspective of someone new to naval fiction and naval movies.
Gregory Peck is one of my favorite actors, which makes this film an easy choice to watch (for me, at least). However, the character of Hornblower (with his trademark Hmm..mmm) and the events covered by the movie are probably closer to the original series than the recent A&E series. [At least, judging from Parkinson's biography covering the same ground as the novels, this would appear to be the case]. If you are a Hornblower purist, you will probably prefer the Gregory Peck movie version for this reason, even though the battle scenes are more sustained and far more exciting in the A&E versions (judging from The Duel).
Captain Hornblower condenses two (or is it three?) books into one - the book in which he is posted on direct orders from the Admiralty, and must round Cape Horn to reach a Spanish rebel, Don Julian Alvorado on the other side of Nicaragua. This feat of seamanship is well-portrayed, with the movie starting at the point where the ship has been at sea for months and has been becalmed. Hornblower takes a wild gamble in assuring the crew and his officers that the wind will pick up that night and that they will sight land within the next day. Amazingly, he pulls this off. In private, his journals reflect his fears and uncertainty, thus allowing us a glimpse at the private Hornblower.
The first part of the movie focuses on Hornblower's difficult decisions during this secret mission (when he cannot confide in any of his officers, including his second-in-command Lt Bush). He must decide whether to trust Don Julian Alvorado (who is clearly a madman), whether to attack a much larger Spanish frigate with twice the gunpower, and what to do when political events overtake this little expedition.
What is not made clear (at least when I watched the film for the first time) is that Hornblower had really no choice but to go along with Alvorado (or El Supremo) as he likes to call himself. Spain is allied with Napoleonic France, and Hornblower must re-provision his ship. The nearest British port of call is St Helena - on the other side of South America. Hornblower was not simply following Admiralty orders, he was also taking a risk to keep his crew alive.
There are several battles, including one major battle when Hornblower's ship loses one of its mast and is nearly wrecked. Fortunately, brilliant seamanship on his part allows him the upper hand.
During this first part, Hornblower also develops a love interest in Lady Barbara Wellesley (a fictional character, although she is supposedly the sister of the future Duke of Wellington). She is engaged to an admiral Sir Rodney Leighton, but she prefers Hornblower. He was reluctant to have her aboard at first, but had no choice (she was fleeing yellow fever, it would have been professional suicide to leave her behind, with her connections). Unfortunately for Hornblower, he must reveal the truth after Lady Barbara declares her love for him. He is married. The rest of the voyage is strained, with both anxious to return to Britain as soon as possible.
The second part of the movie begins with Hornblower's return to the British Isles, only to learn that he is a widower and has an infant son. From there, he is placed under the command of Leighton (now Lady Barbara's husband). Admiral Leighton disapproves of Hornblower's independence, but our hero's quick thinking and independent ways pay off in a crucial action against some French ships that have escaped the blockade.
In the third part of the movie, Hornblower is taken prisoner along with his lieutenant, and is to be sent to Paris to be tried and executed for piracy (sailing under French colors). Of course, he escapes eventually and returns home to discover that Lady Barbara has been widowed.
This is a quick summary of the movie, which hardly does justice to many of its finer points. There are some deviations from the book (the story was adapted, by the way, by Forester himself). For example, Sir Percy Leighton becomes Sir Rodney Leighton. [He is of a different social background in the books than in the movie]. Lady Barbara is not engaged to be married at the beginning of the voyage, and she appears proud and haughty to Hornblower. And of course, the collapsing of the three books into one movie means that certain details must be omitted (thus Lt Bush recovers remarkably quickly, or so it would seem). The pace of the adaptation is however just right - the story continues to sustain the viewer's interest.
The sea battles are well-depicted, and the story was filmed in real ships (of the period, I think) and mostly at sea. However, the battles are less bloody than in the A&E version (perhaps a nod to 1950s sensibilities), and the ships are certainly cleaner than expected. I thought that the ships would be closer together when they engaged in battle.
Despite these minor caveats, this film was delightful to watch. I would recommend this movie strongly to anyone interested in this period (the Napoleonic wars), or anyone interested in nautical fiction. The A&E series covers the very early career of the very young Hornblower, when he is still a midshipman and then makes lieutenant. (At the rate the producers are going, it will take a while before they reach the same events covered by this movie). Even if they do cover this period, watch this movie, if only for Gregory Peck's portrayal of Hornblower as as as Forester's own adaptation of his novels for the screen....more info
Captain Horatio Hornblower RN Typical Hollywood swashbuckling stuff and sticks to the spirit of the three books by C S Forester. Some changes are made especially within "The Happy Return" element where in the book Hornblower resides in France for several months with Bush and Brown (Quist in the film) but this is changed in the film for a much quicker escape.
Some (again typical) Hollywood errors. In the film they refers to both the Larboard and Port side of the ship but "Port" was substituted for "Larboard" in 1844 to avoid confusion. Also Hornblower refers to Lady Barbara's brother as the Duke of Wellington. At the time this title had not been confered on him.
These small things apart, the film is good old-fashioned entertainment. The special effects are good for the time, but pale when compared to modern day SFX as in "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World". ...more info
Great Adventure and Romance on the High Seas This is my favorite movie. Romance, sward fights, smart compassionate captain leading his crew, canon fire, jealousy, faithfulness, tall ships, loss, gain, all on the high seas and dry land, and the fortress on the hill. Gregory Peck and, oh yes, a beautiful leading lady. This has been my number one awaited DVD since DVDs were invented. Finally it's almost here. They don't make movies this good any more. ...more info
An adventure classic! Extremely glad to finally see this film available on DVD. One of my favorite action classics...I rate it almost as good as the original Robin Hood. The colors are rich and you really get a sense of being at sea. One of my favorite Gregory Peck pictures. The movie is also enhanced by a very effective score. It has a fairly predictable plot, but the action scenes make it thoroughly watchable and very entertaining. If you like seafaring adventure, Master and Commander and Captain Horatio Hornblower belong in your film library....more info
A classic movie of adventure and victory at sea! This is a 1951 big-budget film adaptation of three of C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels. Specifically, this movie combines "Beat to Quarters," "Ship of the Line," and "Flying Colors." It necessarily condenses the latter two novels, but does a good job in doing so.
These are great novels, and this is a great film. Gregory Peck does a stellar job as Captain Hornblower, and Barbara Mayo puts in a fine performance as Lady Barbara. At the time there were some complaints that both leads were Americans, but the film justified the casting choices both in the eyes of the critics and at the box office.
For those unfamiliar with the Hornblower series of novels, these stories are widely considered to be the greatest novels ever written dealing with the British navy during the Napoleonic wars. Captain Hornblower is a fictional British sea captain, who is blessed with high intelligence and competence, but humble origins of birth, which mattered greatly in those days. In the film his ship is ordered to make a 7000 mile voyage to Spanish South America, for the purpose of inciting rebellion among the Spanish colonies, as Spain had recently allied itself with Napoleon against Great Britain. Complications immediately develop, and this is a fabulous and engaging story about a brave age of hardship and adventure. I literally cannot imagine anyone not enjoying this film or this story.
The movie features fine acting and quite good battle scenes. The A&E series actually had better special effects in my opinion, but the film hews closer to the actual stories in the novels. Both are well worth watching and owning. My only complaint is that this film is not yet available on DVD. Hurry!...more info
Peck The Classic Leading Man In Hornblower Classic As action filled and romantic as I recall as a youth. While chronologically first, Captain Horatio Hornblower picks up where AE's superb eight-part TV series leaves off. The movie captures the essence of three of C.S. Forester's Hornblower novels: Beat To Quarters, Ship of the Line, Flying Colors. Indeed Forester translates his own works, writing the screenplay for the movie. It's 1807. The story takes the viewer from treachery on the Pacific coast of Central America to deception on the coast of Napoleon-controlled Spain. In between there is leadership, battle, courage and romance. Everything you'd want in a classic seafaring yarn. Peck is in fine form as the unflappable, sometimes stoic title character. Virginia Mayo plays the love interest. The principals are surrounded by a colorful cast that moves from skepticism to obedient service, good dry humor, and the occasional wager on just how skilled be their captain. The DVD includes a nostalgic 1952 Lux radio (audio) broadcast of the storyline and a Warner Brothers Bugs Bunney-Yosemite Sam cartoon, "Captain Hareblower," for the youngters.
While the contemporary Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World - and Russell Crow's Jack Aubrey - in my view exceeds this film in many areas, Gregory Peck is - well - impeccable and the action flows in this throw-back version of Rule Britannia!...more info
The Hornblower Legend hits the screen This is a great swashbuckler of a film. Originally intended for Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck is fine as the captain. The movie covers three major episodes from the novels and does them well. This movie is highly watchable and enjoyable. Peck is joined by a fine supporting cast that includes Virginia Mayo, Robert Beatty and James Robertson Justice. Great special effects in the sea battles really makes this a treat to watch....more info
Long Awaited Movie This has always been one of my favorite movies and I have been trying to find a copy for a long time. I asked if this DVD was available but was told that it was not. I just thought that it was not going to be released and I let the notion of owning it go. Then, after a period of time passed, you contacted me and informed me that it was now going to be released and if I was still interested. I was very pleased that you kept my request on file and contacted me when it was going to be available. Your organiztion is everything that I could want and so much more. Thank you very much for allowing me to be a part of your organization. ...more info
Pretty Good "Buckle your swash" movie..! This is not one of Pecks best roles, but serves fairly well as an action adventure story. Mayo is OK but has never been a very good actress. She adds a certain romance to the movie but her role could have been left out.
Lots of action, cannons blasting, and swordplay. If you liked "Captain Blood" and "Black Swan" then you'll like this movie. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, Peck leads the British to victory over the French. 4 out of 5 stars. If you like "swashbucklers" then get the set of "Horatio Hornblower" starring Ioan Gruffudd that aired on A&E TV......it's a better story and a lot better setting. Better acting, too....more info
Swashbuckling Technicolor fun A fun, uncomplicated pirate film starring Gregory Peck as the restrained, capable Captain Horatio Hornblower, hero of the popular novels by C. S. Forester. Starts on an action-packed note, then slows down a bit for a long romantic interlude, then picks up steam again as cannons burst and swords clash in the big climactic battles of the end. Good old-fashioned fun, with a brisk script and plenty of great character actors and snazzy Technicolor cinematography. Recommended!...more info
Captain Horatio Hornblower I first saw this film with my grand parents when I was only some 8 years old. I didn't really understand it then (50+ years ago) but the memories came flooding back.
It has a great story to tell and is brilliantly acted and directed. I recommend it to anyone that likes a little excitement, a good plot, good acting and none of the now required "sex". Excellent family viewing!
captain horatio hornblower excellent quality!
waited yrs for this to be released on dvd.
well worth the wait for any swashbuckling fan!
Peck as Hornblower I first saw Gregory peck as Hornblower about 45 years ago.I fell in love (puppy variety) with that man right then. I started CS Forester's series immediately. Other 11 year old girls read Nancy Drew, I read Horatio Hornblower. The Hornblower series is probably one of the three best naval action series (of antiquity) ever put to pen. (A real close tie is Alexander Kent's wonderful series.) The latest British TV mini-series (was on A&E) was absolutely wonderful and actually conveyed the feel and character of the Forester series with vivid realism...perhaps more so than the movie that had to be a bit too romanticized and glammed up. I especially enjoyed Horatio's earliest exploits as a young teen and adolescent in the novels. It would be nice to see a younger actor play this role in an upcoming feature...and cover his earliest years and why he (like so many) set out to sea in ships....more info